My teacher, woodcarver, Ivan Maranov, woodcarving

My grandfather, Ivan Maranov, was a type of artists who did not need any glorification. That is why nowadays his name sounds unfamiliar or rather forgotten. The truth is, he could make our country famous through his art. One of his greatest works is the Throne Room of Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie (Ras Tafara), which lacks even his initials because he was not allowed to sign.

He told me that on his official visit to Bulgaria Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie was fascinated by the beauty of carved iconostasis in Rila Monastery and of Permanent Artistic Crafts Exhibition in Oreshaka. He asked Bulgarian Government to help him select a master wood-carver who should bring traditional Bulgarian wood-carving stilistics into his new Throne Room in Addis Ababa.

Thus, in 1968, under Committee of Culture order my grandfather left for Ethiopia, where he worked on his project for four years. Nowadays, one can see his masterpiece in the Capital of Addis Ababa. Our compatriots say though, it needs urgent restoration.

Ivan Maranov worked in Professor Travnitski"s team for years. Some of the biggest projects that he took part in were:

In 1972, upon his return from Ethiopia, my grandfather founded his own workshop in Sofia, on MacGahan Street. I remember it very well. I spent there many years of my life. It was where I met the magic called wood-carving for the first time in my life.

In his workshop, my grandfather carried out orders by Chimimport and Advertising Balkan Companies Traditional Crafts Masters" Labour Society and others. Then, my father, Radko Maranov and myself helped him making wooden plates, jewelry boxes, wooden wine vessels and other typical Bulgarian souvenirs.

Huge traditionally carved ceiling in Buntovna Tourist Historical Complex in Sredna Gora Town is also my grandfather's work. It was his idea and creative project to make the first Wooden Sofia Award Basketball Cup. Subsequently he took part in many other projects for sports, academic and other events cups.

Иван Маранов

Ivan Maranov – Life in dates

  • Born on August, 2, 1908 in Sofia. Son of Velyo Maranov, woodworker and wood-carver.
  • In 1925 he started working in Professor Travnitski"s (founder of Wood-carving Specialty in Fine Arts Academy in Sofia) Studio and in The Artist Wood-carving Workshop. Ivan Maranov was part of Prof. Travnitski"s team for years and participated in the realization of projects like: iconostasis and outer door of the church in Bankia; The St. Nikolay Sofiyski Church in Sofia; the throne of King Boris III of Bulgaria; Banker Burov's office and financial and scientific elite"s offices; different stands for Boris III"s the hunting trophies, etc...
  • In 1933 graduated in Artistic Furniture and Interior Decoration School in Ruse City.
  • In the autumn of the same year he was appointed an assistant teacher in the Woodworking and Interior Architecture Technical Secondary School in Sofia.
  • In the spring of 1935 went in for an examination of pedagogical competence. Afterwards, he was appointed a regular teacher in respected Industrial school in Etropole Town. He developed school"s facilities with exceptional devotion.
  • In the autumn of 1938 he started teaching in the town of Berkovitza.
  • In 1946 he went back to Etropole, where he was Industrial School's and Girls' Professional Secondary School headmaster from 1949 until 1954.
  • Since 1954 he taught Woodcarving in "Artistic Crafts Technical Secondary School" in Sofia.
  • He was among the founders of Traditional Crafts Masters" Labour Society. In 1967, my grandfatheg took part in Committee of Culture creation. The purpose of Labour Society is to preserve Bulgarian applied folk art centuries-long traditions, to ensure applied folk art"s continuity and development helping masters pass their experience to younger generation; to disseminate and propagate works of Bulgarian arts and crafts both in the country and abroad; to provide creative and productive independence for folk masters, as well as suitable conditions for work providing them materials. (Quotation from CC of BCP Decree No. 525 of 10.04.1967, establishing the Labour Society).
  • He was elected Chairman of Masters" Labour Society Art Council.
  • Ivan Maranov died on 30.01.1998 in Sofia.